Concentration Camp Ashes Painting: Is Artist Carl Michael von Hausswolff Disrespecting Holocaust Victims?

By Amir Khan on December 10, 2012 12:21 PM EST

Majdanek
The Majdanek crematorium, where the ashes were allegedly stolen from (Photo: Creative Commons)

A concentration camp ashes painting has many people up in arms, with some people calling the concentration camp ashes painting "repulsive." The concentration camp ashes painting, by artist Carl Michael von Hausswolff, is on display at a museum in Sweden, and it has people upset.

The concentration camp ashes painting was painted using ashes of holocaust victims mixed with water. The artist, artist Carl Michael von Hausswolff, said he stole the ashes used in the concentration camp ashes painting from the Majdanek concentration camp in 1989. The camp, now a museum, called the theft an "unimaginably barbaric act."

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"It may be just an artistic act of provocation. However it is clear that the Swedish artist did not obtain the ashes legally," they museum said, according to the Daily Mail. "We hope that authorities will be able to clarify whether the remains of Majdanek victims have been stolen and desecreted."

Approximately 80,000 people, mostly Jews, were killed at the Majdanek concentration camp during the holocaust, and according to the gallery website, the artist said he used ""some ashes from cremation ovens" in the creation of the concentration camp ashes painting.

The owner of the gallery, Martin Bryder, said the concentration camp ashes painting was not put on display to cause a stir.

"This exhibition raises a lot of questions, and I think people should make up their own mind by visiting and asking the questions," he said, according to the Daily Mail. "That is all I have to say about it."

He also said the concentration camp ashes painting isn't meant to hurt people, but to heal.

"I do not want attention for the sake of attention," he said. "This is not meant to open up old wounds, but to heal them."

But Salomon Schulman, a popular figure in Sweden's Jewish community, said the concentration camp ashes painting is "repulsive in the extreme."

"Who knows, some of the ashes might come from some of my relatives," he said, according to BBC News.

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